At the throttle

Train Blog

July 18, 2021

OpsLog – TBL – 07/17/2021

nother busy day on the Tuscarora. I thought we were going to have four people but because of sweeping Covid fears, the father/son team I invited had to cancel. And that left me with 50% crew. In a normal ops session, a disaster. But the modular functionality Tuscarora Branch Line can run as easily with one as it can with four. So with Greg (my long-time engineer who has been with this project from the start) we set all signals to green, coupled in the mini-tower (which lets an operator easily run the layout) and began. He ran the local […]
July 11, 2021

ShowLog – Deland – 7/10/2021

ell, it’s been a while. With Covid, it’s been over a year since we did our last Volusia Fairgrounds show. I had concerns (as I always do) about layout functionality. However, we set up the day before (just in case) and found out that everything was fine and dandy. One turnout needed a bit of TLC, and one section of track lost power. All easily fixed. Then a number of cleaning passes and we were good to go. We even logged our normal setup time – about 1:15, so yay us! The show was something else. Me, I was in […]
July 6, 2021

OpsLog – TBL – 07/05/2021

uick entry but not a duplicate. Yes, we ran the Tuscarora on Saturday. But on Monday there wasn’t much work-session stuff going on so I decided to run a solo session. Ran up a sheet for a switcher local and boosted the effort by two additional cars (the maximum). I gotta say, this is the railroading I built the Tuscarora for. I just ran through the switching, taking about 90 minutes to do so. The Pee-Dee was easy – did it in minimal moves. As it stood, at the end, I wished I’d run off two sheets – I could […]
July 4, 2021

OpsLog – TBL – 07/03/2021

here is something quite unique about the Tuscarora Branch Line. Granted, it’s a small layout, only 2×4. But when Greg and I were doing our two-person session yesterday, it was like we were connected to a huge layout, managing a single town as the local switched and coal hoppers paraded past. Good session, too. Everything ran perfect. I think we had one derailment that might have been rough uncoupling. As far as the on-the-ground action, we had quite a session. First off, it seemed that the railroad had let a backlog of empty hoppers build up to the east – […]
June 27, 2021

OpsLog – FEC – 6/26/2021

f you wanted to find the last OpsLog on the Florida East Coast, you’d have to go back over a year ago. That’s how long it’s been, the entire span of the pandemic. Still, the session was one of the strictest I’ve seen. Temperature checks. Vaccination records. Full masks. And I respect that (with the new variant filling ICUs again). In fact, on the way to the session we stopped at Wendy’s for lunch. Wore our masks in the line. Sat down in the corner. But then an extended family of unmasked tire-biters sat a table away and we finished […]
June 24, 2021

OpsLog – LM&O – 06/23/2021

t was a dark and stormy night… Most penny dreadfuls start this way. And our session on the LM&O felt that way. Lots of guests so lots of people jammed everywhere. Turnout failures. Brain failures. Near misses. Arguments. What didn’t happen on the road tonight? My moment of grace was the Shelfton Local. Even under reduced yard limits and warrants, it was a single slip out and another back. I just had an enjoyable time down that branch, switching cars and staying out of everyone’s banana dramas. And, because good things come to good engineers, when I shuffled my cars […]
June 13, 2021

OpsLog – WVN – 6/13/2021

he soot-black tunnel roils with fire and smoke, the den of a dragon. I’ll admit I don’t like this final tunnel into Elkview at all, a long slow curving decent. The left bend of the track makes me all but blind with our long boiler. Fortunately my fireman is in his left seat keeping watch, his shovel across his lap, empty coal cars ringing and banging behind us. Even unloaded, I’m having to apply pressure on this stiff downgrade to keep our speed in check. Suddenly I hear something detonate under our driver, a second, third. Torpedoes. Some brave soul […]
May 29, 2021

OpsLog – TBL – 05/29/2021

fter the mad dash I made last night to the club over a faulting alarm, it was nice to just go out all casual-like the next day and run the Tuscarora alone. The thing about solo ops is that it’s a lot quieter, a lot more controlled, and the only bungling is yours. This session was part test – Designer Elf Steve had built me a sub-panel which could run just the turnouts without interlocking logic. It’s a small panel that makes things a lot easier for solo ops. And it worked perfectly – I just put it on the […]
May 27, 2021

OpsLog – LM&O – 5/26/2021

he terrible crash on the LM&O in East Red Rock tonight was a true railroad operational accident. Several people placed their throttles on the same facial shelf. One guy accidentally picks up another guy’s throttle and gives it a twist. Of course, when his engine doesn’t budge he spins to to the peg. And while nothings happening down in Mingo-land, up in Red Rock Train 202 East launches out of its siding, derailing all units across the turnout just in time to take Train 223 full facial. Of course, since it was Terry’s last session, we didn’t want him to […]
May 2, 2021

OpsLog – TBL – 5/1/2021

fter a frightful eyeball malfunction and a kidney stone, I was ecstatic that I could finally host the Tuscarora Branch Line with three of my favorite operators (Greg, Brian and Tyler). Once we ran the wasp blockade (three nests in the porch roof), we were able to kick off the session and have a great time. This time, I took the dispatcher’s post while Greg ran the coal extras. Brian ran the scheduled timetable and his son Tyler, the signal tower. And this was a really fun session – the first time we ran with active signals (rather than just […]